Stationery until the hen comes home to roost
Another online invitation and announcement company surfaced today: Chickadee Prints. In the tag line of its online Press Release, Chickadee claims to be “a company that aspires to create unique designs for stationary . . .” Well that stopped me in my tracks. How can a company aspire to create “unique” designs for a market that they can’t even spell properly?
Needless to say, this stunning revelation caused me to read further and I learned among other things that Chickadee Prints offers a “completely ‘green’ service . . .” Well, it is not completely “green” unless you believe that 30% recycled post-consumer waste means completely green. I did not have the benefit of a “new math” education, but surely 30% can’t be 100% no matter how far you stretch the truth. The good news is that Chickadee “sells their products at surprisingly low prices- giving them quite an edge over competitors.” Since you can customize your invitations online at Chickadee’s website, you are free to spell stationery any way that makes sense to you. If stationary works for you, go for it! As for me, I will wait until the hen comes home and the chick learns to spell.
Now, I am regularly accused of being disrespectful to online printers and online retailers. I think this accusation is, perhaps, a bit harsh, but probably correct. The fact of the matter is that paper is not stationery, “green” is not being 30%-committed and “unique” designs are not synonomous with ”good” designs. And did I forget printing? The printing process has a considerable impact on the “look” of fine stationery and custom invitations. To suggest that one can sell invitations “at surprisingly low prices” is not even 30% of the story. Paper stock, printing options and design customization options are so varied within the industry that it is simply impossible and even foolish to compare prices. If price is your primary search determinant, then Chickadee and a slew of other similar online companies might work for you. If you are in doubt (and you certainly should be), I strongly recommend that you visit a Guild member store in your neighborhood to see and touch the paper you are buying.
If on the other hand, you are a competent designer and want to setup your own online dealership, visit SitePalatte which has a variety of hosting and invitation template designs to launch your new business. At $10 to $50 a month this is a very good deal. As for me, I will continue to work with established printing companies, talented designers and continue to peddle paper the old-fashioned way: one client at a time who insist on seeing and touching the papers to determine what they are buying.